Who’s King in Bollywood?

Numero Uno. This is not an easy question to answer! Ever since I started watching Bollywood movies a few years back, I recall  this debate  going on, correction: Raging on! cuz nothing is taken lightly in India…  To the chagrin of  the stars and their entourages involved and to the amusement of audiences – like me, the heated debate of who is Nr.1  is a gladiator fight of gladiatorist proportions. We are in awe.  Let’s look at the contenders. Throughout the 80s 90s up to today this hard-fought for position has been held by a variety of stars:

Shah Rukh Khan  Some call him King.  Some call him dated.  Since his flamboyant debut in Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge,  he has been the frontrunner. Not just because of his movies, but the man is just Mr. Charisma Inc.  SRK has a long list of hits under his belt. He’s the desi equivalent of a Beatle in the 60s. When he’s in a generous mood he will come to the balcony of his home and wave to his fans. Yes, he is THAT big. and on top, the most charismatic of all the Indian actors. When he talks to people he will make steel melt, he’s so personable. His last movies were commercial successes but the throne is standing on slippery grounds. Personally, I couldn’t connect to any of his last five or six films. I wasn’t crazy about any but you can’t say that loud because he has millions of fans who will die for him and who will go on barricades. I think he needs not to worry. If #1 is passe, we’ll invent a new category for him.  (like they do at the Zee awards..) or we’ll just make him a Lifetime Hero.



Aamir Khan.  That doesn’t sit well with Aamir and no. they are not brothers. They are  frenemies, less fr more en.  He has made a few good movies.  His wife Kiran Rao is also someone to watch.  A powerful union.  Aamir pretends he doesn’t care if he is #1 or #2 but that’s bullshit.  I mean this man is box office gold and doesn’t need to worry about public placements. I loved him best in his older movies and my favorite is Earth!  He makes really good movies.  He is known as a perfectionist, so he takes his sweet time to get it right. People say he is shy. But he is not so shy when it comes to promote his movies! I am looking fwd to his next.


an older picture but he looks so sexy here :-)


Salman Khan, who has been called dead and history more than once ALWAYS bounces back. He has found the success formula with his heroes. But they are getting old. And so does he.  Whenever he reemerges with his big world embracing smile he holds firmly in his fist Box Office Numbers. They are on his side. For the time being. Salman is a party crasher as much as he is a honey-bee. I know lots of people who say he’s the one and only king. The best thing is, he believes it.  The beautiful thing about Salman is his eternal optimism.  It will keep him in the cradle of his all adoring fans.






Hrithik Roshan . I love the fact that he is back on the throne and people start putting him back into  a possible #1 position. Who would have thought after  Kites and Guzaarish? those movies could have easily been the nails for the fame coffin.  I was sure, he’d phoenix himself out of it.  I liked Kites, btw. couldn’t understand why it was demolished. I celebrate his return with his last two hits:  Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara and Agneepath.  It feels like he has never left the stadium. Here, Hrithik, you earned the laurels! We’ll make you Kaiser.





There is hope then for Akshay Kumar‘s big come-back. I know it’s around the corner. His fans have never abandoned him. He has a steady footing. He is just such an adorable guy. It’s hard not to love him.  I wrote about him in a different post, so I  would  just reiterate which is boring.  Akshay dearest, I will always love you, adore you and watch all your movies.   for therapeutic reasons.  much cheaper than a shrink and less fattening than digging into a pot of chocolate icecream.  It must be the punjabi background  that fills him with irresistible flair and energy… Punjabis know how to celebrate!


this picture didn’t come bigger. but you are, in our hearts… :-)



Fact is, in India, you can be launched into the Nr.1 position with one single boxoffice success, and the movie can stink, the acting being rainbow high over the top. If it appeals to the masses and turns box office revenues into golden cows, you’ll be Nr. One.  But that’s not the only reason. Who is King in Bollywood depends largely on politics, not on movies.

Fans are politically divided and so are their opinions on their stars. Indian fans are not your regular star struck fans. They are MOLOTOV cocktails!!  just go to the Indian cinema board on Imdb and throw in a catch phrase, Aamir Khan is the best!  see what happens.

In my humble opinion, I am not Muslim, Hindu or Quarterback, all these stars will have to take a deep breath because YOUNGER ones will be tomorrow’s superstars. But maybe the whole concept is antiquated.  Maybe that era is already fading. Kids have shorter attention spans. They will not come in drones anymore  and wait for days to get a glimpse of their adored King XYZ. They won’t have time. The economy and making good money will keep them busy. Kingdoms are so yesterday.



Except the kingdom of  Amitabh Bachchan.

and let’s not get started on the Queens….